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Your Information Technology Career: Beware The Comfort Zone

I’ve seen it happen time and again to programmers, network engineers and administrators, and other IT personnel.   They get a solid IT position, a good-paying job, and they get comfortable.  They stop keeping up with the latest technologies, they stop studying, they no longer keep their CCNA, MCSE, and other industry certifications up-to-date…. and then one day, their comfortable job is gone.

Maybe they get laid off, maybe the company moves and they don’t want to move with it… but for one reason or another, they’re in the worst position possible.  They have no job, and they have allowed their IT skills to deteriorate to the point where they are no longer employable.

If you’re in IT, you must be constantly learning.  You must continually take the long view, and ask yourself three important questions.  First, where do you want to be in three years?  Second, what are you doing now in order to reach this goal?  And finally, if you were laid off today, are your current skills sharp enough to quickly get another job?

That third question can be the hardest of all to answer honestly.   I’m reminded of Microsoft announcing years ago that they would no longer be recognizing the MSCE 4.0 certification, since the network operating systems that certification was based upon would no longer be supported by MS.  (Keep in mind that this change was announced months in advance, giving those holding the MCSE 4.0 plenty of time to earn the latest MS certification.)

Some MCSE 4.0s just went nuts.  Microsoft’s certification magazine printed letter after letter from angry MCSEs saying that their company would always run NT 4.0, and that there was no reason for them to ever upgrade their certification.

This wasn’t just denial.  This was career suicide.  Let’s say that their network never moved from NT 4.0.  Let’s also say that they got laid off yesterday.  Would you want to go out into the current IT workplace and have your most recent network operating system experience be on NT 4.0 ?  I sure wouldn’t.

The fact is that you’ve got to continue studying, continue growing, and continue learning new things if you want to have a successful long-term IT career.  If you plan on studying only one topic, getting into IT, and then never cracking a book again, you’re entering the wrong field.  And for those of us who have been in it for a while – again, ask yourself this question:  “Am I prepared for what would happen if I were laid off today?”  And if you’re not, do something about it!

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August 4, 2010 Posted by | Computers & Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to buy the perfect PC

PCs have become a staple in every home. Without PCs, you will find it hard to stay connected and to even do the work required of you in school or in the office. With so much PC packages being shoved to our throat every time we go to department stores and computer shops, you’ll really get quite confused on what you really need and what PC package will fit your budget and lifestyle. To help you through this dilemma, here is a brief backgrounder of the parts of PCs that you should get to know.

Processor.

This is one of the three primary components of your PC. The processor is the part that determines how fast your computer process information. Intel is still the leading brand in processors but competitors such as American Micro Devices (AMD) are slowly catching up, offering cheaper alternative. In shopping for a processor, one should consider the following:

Clock speed – this will show the number of instructions that a computer can execute in a second. This usually comes after the brand name. Processors nowadays are already set at the gigahertz range.

Cache memory – this stores the data that were previously accessed. This simplifies the work of the computer as it would not take twice as long to access information already stored in memory bank. Without a cache memory, much of the work will fall on the RAM (Random Access Memory).

Operating temperature – some processors easily heats up. Before buying, make sure that you have asked about the operating temperature just in case you need to buy additional fans or put the computer in an air-conditioned room.

RAM (Random Access Memory).

RAM serves as the temporary memory of the PC, containing information that are needed for the computer and the programs to function. In addition to processors, RAM also determines the speed of the computer. The higher the RAM, the faster the computer is in accessing information and responding to commands.

Motherboard

This is where all the parts of the PC’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) are attached. Some motherboards already have videocards and soundcards embedded on it while others don’t. what is important however is to choose a motherboard that is compatible with your RAM and processor. Incompatibility of PC hardware can cause major problems and may even lead to the breakdown of your computer.

Hard drive.

This is the part where you store all the information in your PC. Picture a floppy disk with much much larger storing capacity. The hard drive serves as the permanent memory of your computer. Here you install all your programs and save all the documents that you need. It is also important that you buy a hard drive with really big capacity especially now when people are so used to storing multimedia files that may use up a lot of hard drive space.

Video cards

This is the part of the computer which determines the quality of the multimedia images that you will view. The higher the memory of the video card, the better is the picture quality and the colors. Also, video cards are also responsible for how fast multimedia images are accessed. This is especially needed if you use your computer for multimedia activities such as watching a movie or playing video games.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Computers & Technology | , , | Leave a comment